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Father John Misty Sells Out

October 25th, 2012

Father John Misty – The Bowery Ballroom – October 24, 2012


Known to many as the former Fleet Foxes drummer, Josh Tillman has successfully launched a solo career as Father John Misty. In an interview this spring on KCRW, he revealed the moniker was a red herring for his obvious creative shift. “The name was really just something that I could just live with because it doesn’t have any meaning. Meaning doesn’t age very well. Absurdity does in my mind, so I just wanted to go with something malleable and absurd and a name that could be manipulated,” he explained. And last night at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom, Tillman, certainly an eccentric, did not disappoint.

Tillman opened the evening with a diatribe about crowds often yelling, “Fire,” but at concerts it tends to be “Bruce Springsteen.” An odd tangent coming off playing Petty Fest at Webster Hall earlier in the evening. Tillman’s lithe frame was quickly on display as his gesticulations commanded the beginning of “Funtimes in Babylon,” with his head thrown back against the blue and purple lights. Between “Only Son of the Ladies’ Man” and “Nancy from Now On,” he ordered the disco ball to be turned on. And Tillman continued his unique dancing, including sequences of Freddie Mercury–like shimmying to the honky-tonk of “I’m Writing a Novel” and rag-doll flaying to “This Is Sally Hatchet.”

“If I wanna run this show off the rails, it’s my job,” exclaimed Tillman. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. With the close of the show, the audience was completely engulfed in Tillman’s stage presence, joining along in dance and song for “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” Having already covered the bulk of his recent release, Fear Fun, the encore was a duo of covers: Bing Crosby’s “Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You)” and Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again.” Needless to say, the folks lucky enough to enjoy the show were not disappointed. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(Father John Misty plays Webster Hall on 1/14.)